It seems that people are increasingly interested in dissociating themselves from the reality that has been conveyed to them. The rise of virtual reality, the prospect of wearing headsets that can transport us to malls, mountains and distant planets, or even online dating via holograms that ultimately leads to a world where distant lovers do not. would never need to face the hustle and bustle of actually meeting in person. Oh yeah, and porn. In March 1999, The matrix was released and it was then that thought began to pass through millions of minds that the world we were born into might not even be real; and if this world is not real, then what is the harm in living in other worlds that are not real? You can’t control when the sun rises and sets, but maybe this corner of the world could be the product of your own creation, regardless of absolutes.
All that to say: you care too much about your damn fantasy football team.
On Sunday, millions of people around the world panicked and protested as the NFL opened the floodgates for the 2016 NFL season with a morning game list. But these people weren’t pissed off by a bad call from a referee, a dirty blow to a star quarterback, or even the hot issue of the day regarding Colin Kaepernick and the national anthem. Instead, the world of football has come to a standstill because of something that looks a lot like The matrix, only exists in ones and zeros of the digital world:
The ESPN Fantasy Football app and website crashed.
Just as the first games began, as countless fans opened up to open their fantastic team page even before many of them activated the actual games, ESPN’s platforms have thrived. broke down and left people in the dark about what was going on with their teams; you know, the only teams in the universe that they were actually responsible for creating. A fan can support the Kansas City Chiefs or buy season tickets for the San Diego Chargers (hey, technically you could, Chargers fans), but they can’t run the show like Bill Belichick does in the real life. If you want to brag about making a team like Pete Carroll – and pray that you don’t have a reputation for being a “Chip Kelly” – then nothing else can give you the satisfaction of going from one. real football fan to fantasy football player.
But fantasy football players tapped into their leagues hosted by “The World’s Sports Leader” on Sunday and found out why they weren’t called “The World’s Web Leader in Sports.” Error messages littered both the ESPN app and the Fantasy homepage from 1:00 p.m. EST and continued until the end of games. If there was one advantage to the blackout, it’s that at a time when the nation is so divided in a scandalous election year, with the subject of racial inequality even finding its way to the sidelines of the NFL to open the season, the country was finally united on one problem for a few precious hours – that the ESPN fantasy app sucks and was ruining everything for everyone.
It’s the type of American community building event that was previously only available toâ¦ real sports people play in real life.
Last year, a report from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (an organization that apparently must exist now), said that 74.7 million Americans will participate in fantasy football in 2015. Of these, 54% said that they would use ESPN for at least one league and two in five said they would be in multiple leagues. While many of these leagues cost absolutely nothing more than hours of your life, players have said they collectively spend $ 4.6 billion on fantasy football, while daily fantasy games like DraftKings and FanDuel dominated advertising and were as much a part of the 2015 NFL season as Peyton Manning and Cam Newton; a report from Boston Globe said those two sites alone collectively collected nearly $ 3 billion in entry fees.
And remember, the season only lasts four months.
One of the main reasons given as to why fantasy football has become so popular is that it is considered a “social game”. You’re probably in a league with your family, high school friends, or coworkers. It’s almost like a competitive version of Facebook, although some people might just call it âFacebookâ. Except in a lot of cases you still see these people in real life just as much as if you weren’t in a fantasy league with them at all.
You may have seen people get together for draft parties on TV shows like The league, a comedy about friends in a fantasy football league, or the character of Paul Rudd sneaking away from his wife for a fantasy baseball draft in the movie In blister. Less often seen in pop culture, because it’s sadly real and boring, are the drafts that typically occur: a single guy lying alone in his bed in his underwear, eating a bowl of cereal, throwing coffee. shadow over strangers across the world because they recruited Jimmy Graham out of Travis Kelce.
I only know it because I have lived it.
Coincidence or not, I find it interesting that around the same time The matrix re-wired our brains in the spring of 1999, Yahoo.com became the first major media company to start offering free fantastic leagues. Their press release in August of that year said, âFantasy Football is intense competition and community. It is a game perfectly suited to this medium, which brings users closer than ever to each other and to real NFL players. The Matrix brought the concept of âliving together separately via a digital platformâ to the masses, and Yahoo! Sport sparked a revolution that did exactly the same with sport. When the number one fantasy football app crashed on the biggest day of the year for this game, we saw the kind of impact it has on its huge contingent of users.
They felt helpless, blind, and unable to connect with the world they had created. Outside of this world though, in the place we all share, even though we can’t always control what happens there, the games continued.